Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:

  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère

    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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Jeez... isn't that scary. Sarko is the voicebox for the Republique's private thoughts. Eeks! Are the masses that simplistic in thought? Who knows? It is troubling, though, that there is so little help for the areas which most need it. I just received a circular from the Mayor of Paris talking about all the great new projects he has in store for the Paris within the Periph. Momentarily jubilant, it made me realize how much money goes into Paris within the Periph, and how much goes to the suburbs.

Hmmph. Bobigny could be said to be "laxiste", but when you have too many cases and not enough judges, Sarko's comments are 'stupides'.

Sarko is using the "wag the dog" technique, i.e. movig the real debate, which is that his record is not as good as his image-makers pretend it is. Of all the promises he made at the time of the riots last year, none were kept. Nothing has been done -- except for pressure on a police force that doesn't have the means to do its job properly (hence the "dérives").

Same with the judges: they have neither the resources nor the legislation to do their work. The legislation must be adapted, and he problem with underage deliquants needs to be tackled at its root, which means prevention (not just repression). Which means: much needed (and promised) investment in appropriate resources (financial and social) -- on the ground, and in law enforcement.

The "banlieue" is only waiting to implode again. The more French leaders ignore the problem, the more it will snow-ball.

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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